This long summary is available to make the Equinomy project accessible without having to read the book (in French), skipping explanations, arguments and examples. Equinomy aims to propose a better solution than capitalism. We must first understand capitalism, its limits and its shortcomings, before we can find and suggest ways to improve. Capitalism is a power, that of the shareholders in the company. The market economy is the system of free exchange and free prices that structures our modern economies. Both are distinct but connected. A non-capitalist market economy is possible, with more freedom and justice. Capitalism had in the past the interest of aligning risks, profits and power in the hands of shareholders. Today, shareholders have largely abandoned risk, amplified profits and retained power. Capitalism thus abuses its power, against the environment, its employees, its customers as well as the states, with the aim of maximizing profit. It often works against the market economy, limiting competition by different methods.
The control of technological innovations is a major means of generating profit for capitalism. It is not so much the instigator (the market economy) as the beneficiary, by the new products and the decrease of production costs that these innovations bring (source of higher profits). The quaternary, a new economic sector after the tertiary and secondary, is that of robotics, artificial intelligence, source of great progress and also great profits with the decrease of tertiary employees, replaced by robots. If capitalism continues to lead the economic world in its sense of maximum profit, inequality will increase, causing serious economic imbalances (continuous increase in public and private debts), violence and injustice.
Another defect of capitalism, of which it is only partially responsible, is the pollution of the environment. In its need for maximum profit, capitalism has developed disposable, non-recyclable or renewable products, programmed obsolescence, overconsumption. The triangular structure of man's desire, destructive conspicuous consumption to differentiate himself for the purpose of rivalry, are flaws that have allowed these insane strategies from the environmental, scientific or social point of view to develop. They were rather sensible from a capitalist point of view, of profit. However, an economy of abundance rather than scarcity, a sustainable market economy is possible beyond capitalism.
The neoclassical theoretical economy starts on a false foundation, a price theory linked to utility and scarcity. The objectivity of utility as of scarcity is erroneous, they are both social. The real foundation of price is the power, market power of one party, many, or a multitude. The price is a balance of power, peaceful, between buyer(s) and seller(s), but a balance of power all the same. The most realistic theory of value is the theory of value-power. In this, the market economy is needed as the system where competition reduces the power of the players and therefore achieve greater freedom and greater efficiency. However, we must not forget cooperation, the theoretical absentee of the market economy whereas it has always been present in practice and at work as a major freedom tool.
The market economy also has a new role to play. It has been thought solely in its competitive role until now, in a distorted neoliberalism. Historical neoliberalism demanded freedom, against capitalism as against state planning. It must integrate the cooperative side of the market economy into its thinking, not only because cooperation normally exists in the real market economy but also because it is the source of the balance of the market economy. the most free, fair and efficient market. The race to speed in pricing by the stock market stops and the stock market becomes a tool of power balance, with a limitation of volatility and the end of blind faith in the truth of extreme competition as a tool for best prices.
To free individuals from the abuses of power of capitalism requires three different and complementary actions:
- a significant basic income for each adult, to give everyone even more choice of life (this basic income is unconditional), while remaining incentive to work;
- a balance of powers in the company (by a board of directors divided between representatives of customers, employees and shareholders);
- a new regulation of the market economy, in a balance between competition and cooperation;
Thus, a freer, a more just because more balanced, a more effective market economy exists and is called Equinomy. It stops the abuse of power of capitalism, without giving a power superior or equivalent to another party like the state, since the power is the enemy to fight. The balance of power inscribed in liberalism and applied to the modern democratic state has a role also in the market economy freed of capitalism. A better economic system is possible beyond capitalism, which does not require to give up freedom, the market economy, but to improve it, to create this Equinomy.